March 23, 2010
Posted: 06:43 PM ET
By the CNN Wire Staff
(CNN) - A federal judge ruled Tuesday that a lesbian high school student's First Amendment rights were violated when school officials told her she could not attend her prom with her girlfriend, but also ruled that he would not order the school district to hold the event.
In his 12-page order, U.S. District Judge Glen H. Davidson ruled that Itawamba Agricultural High School's denial of 18-year-old Constance McMillen's request to wear a tuxedo to her prom was also a violation of her rights. "The record shows Constance has been openly gay since eighth grade and she intended to communicate a message by wearing a tuxedo and to express her identity through attending prom with a same-sex date," Davidson wrote.
"The court finds this expression and communication of her viewpoint is the type of speech that falls squarely within the purview of the First Amendment."
When officials at the school in Fulton, Mississippi, told McMillen she could not take her girlfriend to the prom or wear a tuxedo at the event, the senior went to the American Civil Liberties Union, which demanded the school change its policy. In response, the Itawamba County School District canceled the prom.
But Davidson denied a motion for an injunction filed by McMillen against the school district's superintendent, the school's principal and its assistant principal asking the court to order that the prom be reinstated.
Filed under: Justice
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